So, without further adieu… the list.
10. The Lost Sun – Tessa Gratton. This is a fantastic take on Norse mythology where two students must ally together to find a lost god. Action, romance, and a road trip across the U.S. of Asgard, this is a book that will appeal to fans of Rick Riordan and Michael Scott. Gratton lends the perfect amount of heart and believability to a novel that heavily relies upon faith and tradition. I was lucky enough to read it VERY early from the publisher. The Lost Sun releases May 28, 2013.
9. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer/The Evolution of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin. Last year I gave up on the first book. This year I blew through both of them in a week. After an accident that took the lives of her friends Mara tries to put together the pieces of her life. However, she keeps seeing the ghosts of her friends. Between bouts of PTSD, and hauntings, she meets Noah, a handsome young man who shakes her up. Fans of psychological novels will love this one, but the characters really are the strength of this novel. Gripping reads!
8. The Name of the Star/The Madness Underneath – Maureen Johnson. Louisiana born Rory Deveaux leaves home for a prep school In London. While studying there, a series of copycat killings patterned from the Jack the Ripper murders begin. Rory finds herself getting involved in the crime of the, and another, century. This is a quick paced intense read. The Madness Underneath releases February 26, 2013.
7. For Darkness Shows the Stars – Diana Peterfreund. It was a retelling kind of year, here’s yet another… A science fiction, post-apocalyptic retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Yes, you read that right. Science fiction Austen… In Space… with technology and genetic experiments gone wrong. With faith vs. fact and all the Classist struggles you expect from an Austen novel. I read this in a day… and the follow up book, Across a Star-Swept Sea, is The Scarlet Pimpernel retold in a similar vein (no release date yet).
5. Jane/Catherine – April Lindner. I’m so dubious of Bronte retellings as they are among my favourite books but here’s an author who does them right. Lindner, a Bronte scholar, has extracted the tone and the themes of Bronte novels and retold them both flawlessly. In Jane we follow Jane (Eyre) through her life as a nanny to a former rock star staging a comeback. Catherine is a retelling of Wuthering Heights set in 1970’s punk rock infused New York. Admittedly, they sound silly… trust me, they’re not. Catherine releases January 2, 2013.
4. Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo. This book is topping many “Best of 2012” lists and with good reason. A spunky female character with latent magic abilities in a world based on Russia has a lot to do with it. Throw in flawless world building, character depth, and a crazy and intense plot and you have a winner on your hands. This is one of those books where I cannot wait for the sequel (Siege and Storm releases June 4, 2013).
3. Masque of Red Death – Bethany Griffin. Araby Worth lives a privileged life at the top of the elite society. A plague has decimated much of the world’s population and everyone must wear masks to avoid breathing the fetid air. Her father is a scientist responsible for creating the masks and they live quite well from his discovery. Araby can’t shed her guilt over the death of her twin brother, Finn, some years earlier. She made a vow to never enjoy anything which he couldn’t experience. This includes falling in love. It’s such a cool book. It has shades of Steampunk, Gothic Horror, Romance… and a plot twist I did not see coming for miles. And did I mention that it’s a retelling of Edgar Alan Poe?
2. Seraphina – Rachel Hartman. I was never a fan of Christopher Paolini’s Eragon books. I want to hand every one of his fans a copy of this instead. Seraphina is how epic dragon fantasies should be written. Seraphina herself is half-Dragon and half-Human in a world where relationships between the two are tenuous at best. She should not exist. That she does flies in the face of the oldest Human beliefs. The medieval world that Hartman sets the novel in reminds me of our own but is completely unique. It was only when the book degenerated into a witch hunt I knew I was absolutely in love.
1. The Hunt – Andrew Fukuda. The Hunt takes place in a world completely overrun with Vampires. The Human (Heper) population has been diminished due to excessive over indulgence. Gene is a Heper who is blending in with the normal “people”, as he puts it. Gene has to undo every characteristic that makes him Human. This novel is stunning. It’s the perfect book to come out in the wake of all the sparkly vampire knock-offs that have pervaded the YA market the last few years. If you are sick of weak Vampires this is for you, because you won’t find any in this book.